The Corona Virus Outbreak – Strategies For Effective Remote Work

As the corona virus story unfolds around the world, we’ve put together some effectiveness tips to help people and organizations adopt effective remote work strategies

Effective Remote Work What Strategies Can We Adopt

As the corona virus story unfolds around the world, we’ve put together some effectiveness tips to help people and organizations adopt effective remote work strategies.

Remote working, or the practice of working for an extended period outside the formal office, is growing steadily in popularity, enabled by a whole host of digital tools of virtually every description. From Web conferencing and e-mail to mobile collaboration applications and virtual event platforms.

I’m sure each of us hopes that Corona Virus won’t become a major health event in their part of the world, but as we see the epidemic unfolding, the reality points the other way.

THREE STRATEGIES FOR REMOTE WORK

The following are three strategies that support remote work and help make your efforts in this direction more fruiful. We look at covering both the technology and the human factors in this post:

Strategy 1: Create a safe and effective base for remote digital access. First and foremost, this means providing secure access to IT resources within the business as well as to the internet itself. This is typically done through an internet provider and virtual private network. You need to asses every part of the connected tech stack, from internet access itself to providing secure means to reach and interact with corporate networks, communication channels, applications being used and the data.

Internet access. Be prepared to invest in mobile hot spots and associated data plans, for the colleagues who do not have optimal internet access. Don’t assume that your staff always have adequate online access at home or elsewhere. While many will, some won’t have reliable or fast enough service or only a mobile device.

Ensure that you have a clearly articulated remote work policy along with a plan, communications program, budget, training, and support for ensuring sufficient internet access wherever the worker will be working remotely.

Allow for adequate slack in your production targets since it may be difficult to know at first the bandwidth that workers will need to be optimally productive. Your line of work may involve needing a lot of data going back and forth regularly. How fast it goes will determine remote work productivity.

Remote work devices. There are two major forks in the road when it comes to devices. Either a) workers can use their own, which is a bigger security risk, but quite a bit cheaper and faster to deploy if their devices are up to the task, or b) a company can provide the devices that are needed. Given that the prevalence of Shadow IT (workers using unsanctioned, unofficial apps to get their work done) is generally higher than most enterprise IT departments are willing to admit – meaning that company data is already on many personal devices anyway – it is advisable to seriously consider assessing workers’ existing computing hardware to see if they are capable, as they are least expensive and quickest option to enable for a crash remote work program.

Your specific type of business requirements would dictate the kind of devices that are needed. Ideally your colleagues are likely to need at least one smartphone and one computer or tablet, plus any internet access hardware. Assess, use your judgement and be objective.

Secure remote access to business assets and online services. Typically this is provided by a virtual private network (VPN) solution, which sits on the PC, laptop, or mobile device and creates an encrypted network connection that makes it safe for the worker to access IT resources within the organization and elsewhere on the Internet or other networks.

In general, the worker should never do any work for the organization without the VPN on their device(s) being turned on. This includes online services on the internet. This is because the VPN ensures a higher level of security and safety between the remote worker and the service.

It’s important to note that the VPN will be the single most important link in your remote work chain, so ensure your solution works on most target devices, works reliably (there is a surprisingly wide gamut of effectiveness, depending on where workers are actually located, which can get complex with global organizations using local internet services, with many IP addresses blocked for a variety of reasons). In addition, strongly consider two-factor authentication (2FA), instead of just user IDs and passwords, to significantly boost security.

If VPN is not your choice of solutions, you don’t need to despair. There are several alternatives, but secure remote desktops can often do the job if you don’t have the IT resources, skills, or budget to operate a VPN everywhere it needs to function.

Workplace Wellness – Interesting Stats

Workplace wellness programs are getting more and more popular. Key Statistics from Global Wellness Institute indicate the growing popularity of Workplace wellness programs.

  • This was a market worth a $48 billion market in 2017, and is projected to grow to $66 billion in 2022.
  • The sector has been growing by 4.8 percent annually from 2015–2017.
  • GWI estimates that only 10 percent of the world’s workers have access to workplace wellness programs and services, mostly concentrated in North America and Europe.
  • A study by Wellsteps indicate that the average return on investment of workplace wellness programs is 3.27. This means that for every dollar that was spent on the program the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs.
  • A Study published by Virgin Healthmiles – Linking Employee Wellness, Morale And The Bottom-Line, indicated that found that an overwhelming 77% of employees think that employee wellness programs positively impact the company culture
  • GWI estimates that workforce unwellness (chronic disease, work-related injuries and illnesses, work-related stress, and employee disengagement) may cost the global economy 10–15 percent of economic output every year.

Global Physical Activity Economy

Interesting statistics from the Global Wellness Institute indicate that the physical activity economy will surpass $1.1 trillion by 2023. Let’s look at some key stats

Interesting statistics from the Global Wellness Institute indicate that the physical activity economy will surpass $1.1 trillion by 2023.
• Asia-Pacific will overtake North America as the largest market accounting for an eye-opening 40 percent of all global growth through 2023.
• China and India together will drive nearly one-third of all growth.
• Mindful movement will be the #1 growth sector (12 percent annually from 2018–2023).
• Technology will be the second-fastest-growing market (8.6 percent annually).

As the world moves towards a greater awareness of the need for physical activity, are you poised to join this revolution?

Let’s be active, Let’s keep Fit

Milk Kefir

Milk Kefir is considered a wonder-drink. Let’s see why this beverage is making waves in the healthy living community

Milk Kefir is a cultured, fermented dairy beverage that tastes very similar to a yogurt drink. It’s made using a starter of “Kefir Grains”, which is a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars.

Kefir and Yogurt have a lot in common but also have many differences. They differ in consistency, nutrient content, and how they’re made. Since Kefir is fermented, most lactose intolerant people can tolerate Kefir.

Some sites recommend that you buy Kefir from the stores. There are many sources that recommend that you prepare Kefir by yourself. My own experience was that I liked the taste of my home grown batch of Kefir much better than the ones that I bought from the store.

Here’s how Kefir is prepared at home.

The main ingredients are Kefir starter grains and Milk (preferably full-fat milk, and not the UHT varieties)

The process is very simple – add a teaspoon of kefir grains to table spoon of full fat milk and mix well. Add this to a cup of milk  and let it sit out at room temperature in a cool dark place for about 24 hours. After the 24 hour period, strain the Kefir grains using a plastic strainer. Your Kefir drink is now ready for consumption.

Here’s what you also need to know :

  • The ‘Kefir Grains’ are living cultures and can be re-used as the starter for subsequent batches. After preparing your batch of Kefir, strain the Kefir Grains. You could store the grains by placing them in a cup of milk and keep in the refrigerator. Stored this way Kefir grains can remain viable for multiple uses.
  • The grains enlarge in the process of Kefir production, even reaching a walnut size, and eventually they split.
  • As the grains grow, you will also notice that your Kefir Milk ferments faster and becomes sourer. If you would like your drink to be less sourer, reduce the quantity of Kefir grains.
  • Make sure that the Kefir grains do not come in contact with metal utensils (spoons, strainers, bowls etc.). Proponents say that contact with metals can spoil the Kefir grains. They recommend that you could use glass bottles, wood or plastic spoons and plastic strainers for producing Kefir.
  • While washing the grains, use filtered or distilled water. Make sure that you maintain a high level of hygiene while producing your batches.
  • When you start on a new starter batch of Kefir Grains, your first batch of production may have an odor. If you are sensitive to the smell, then you could discard the first two batches.

Organic On A Budget

Organic food is often more expensive than conventionally grown food. With organic products being a lifestyle choice and with prices frequently being on the higher side, our organic choices can have an impact on our budget. However if you know your priorities and set spend boundaries, it may be possible to purchase organic food and stay within your food budget.

Here are 7 ways to help you budget your organic purchases.

1. Track Current Spending

It’s helpful to figure out what you are spending on food. Keep your organic purchase receipts for 2 months, to get a realistic picture of your current spending preferences. If you feel inclined, create a spreadsheet to break down your spending by category, including beverages, produce, etc. Once you’ve done this, you can get an idea of where to trim down spending. Tie this in with the monthly food budget (if you haven’t yet made a food budget, then it is a good time to begin).

2. Plan Your Meals

It’s much easier to stick to a budget when you have a plan. Plus, having a purpose for each food item you buy will ensure nothing goes to waste or just sits in your pantry unused. While planning, it’s tempting to opt for every meal being a grandiose experience. Big mistake. These make it difficult to be consistent in following. Start simple with easy salads and simple dishes. Give yourself a two month trial period before moving to more complex plans.

Bottled Water … Safe? Think Again

The average adult human body is comprised of 50-65% of water. A no-brainer then that keeping hydrated is essential to your health. Most of us are conscious about the health benefits of drinking water and keep our plastic bottles at easy reach. Convenient indeed, but did you know that the plastic bottled water may be doing more harm than good.

Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of plastic bottled water.

BPA a frequent component of plastic bottles and in most food packaging plastics is a chemical that mimics hormones.

Studies indicate that BPA, even in minute quantities can lead to a variety of hormonal changes, including early puberty in females, reduction in sperm count, causing men to grow breasts and increased rates of reproductive cancers. The harmful effects are also pronounced in newborns and young children exposed either directly or indirectly through their mother.

Hormones are the most critical component in fertility in both men and women, and hormone problems are most commonly implicated in impaired fertility. Hormone disruptors such as chemicals in plastics send mixed signals. These cause some reproductive hormones to be produced excessively and while lowering the production of other hormones.

Both genders are equally susceptible, with hormonal imbalances such as those with estrogen reduce the ability to conceive.

Boys seem to be the most at risk for severe alterations before and during puberty.

Research continues to alert that the increase in estrogenic chemicals, like BPA and other plastic materials, has contributed significantly to cancers such as breast cancer, testicular cancer and prostate cancer.